The Super Rugby 2014 season is barely two months away now, and a new season means new shirts – this time around it’s the turn of Perth-based Aussie franchise, Western Force.
Like the Queensland Reds, the Force are another former Kooga-supplied team that has been rebranded as with BLK this season. And like the Reds, aside from the new supplier’s badge, there’s not a whole lot of difference between this year’s shirt and last year’s.
First off, we need to get something out of the way – the Western Force logo is absolutely bloody awful. Just look at it. They paid money for someone to design that weird piece of crap. If you have a life, you might not be aware that the logo is actually supposed to represent the state bird of Western Australia, the black swan. Seriously, that’s supposed to be a swan. Eight years the team has been going and we literally didn’t even know it was supposed to be anything, let alone a damn swan. It’s an ugly, abstract mess that somewhat illustrates how tough it is to get new team logo right (and hats off to the Melbourne Rebels for not fucking it up quite so badly when they had a go a few years later).
So the logo’s shit – that’s not the fault of the people who have to design the shirt, they just stick it on their design and hope it doesn’t fuck it up too badly, right? Well… yeah… but apparently nobody told BLK/Kooga, because for the last two years they have positively REVELED in the crapness of that logo, sublimating their crap swan all over the front and back of the damn jersey.
The front is bad enough, though at least there the stupid swan and weird wavy shit has been toned down a bit. On the back… well it’s just an unforgivable mess. Between the massively unnecessary overabundance of black, the jersey sublimation and the gold shirt number… it’s just a car crash of fairly epic proportions.
On the plus side, we like the collar and the reduced amount of black paneling on the sides and under arms, and as with the Reds shirt, we’re glad that the horrible shiny effect of last year’s shirts has been dispensed. But there’s no getting away from it, this is a dogs dinner of epic proportions.
The away shirt somehow manages to be a little bit less awful – maybe it’s the addition of the white, maybe it’s the merciful absence of the rising sun motif, maybe it’s the rugby shirt version of Stockholm Syndrome, we don’t know, but we prefer it, somehow. That said, herpes is probably preferable to Hep C, but we don’t really fancy either of them, given the choice, and so it is here.
Interestingly, the Force have announced that all 22 matchday shirts this season will have individual chest sponsors. These will be sold off for around AU$50,000 a season each for the first XV, and AU$25,000 for the replacements. So not only are the players going to have to walk out wearing these turds, they’re going to do it with 15 different clashing sponsors on it to boot – Force fans, you have our sympathies.
That said, if anyone fancies contributing a few quid, maybe we can raise AU$50,000 and have “THIS SHIRT IS SHIT” plastered across the Honeybadger’s chest for the 2014 season…
SHIT/GOOD RATING: SHIT